Discourses by Vimala Thakar at Dalhousie 1988 Part I
Excerpts from talks given by Vimala Thakar at Dalhousie in 1988
Intelligence seems to be an energy. Supreme intelligence means the supreme energy – all permeating, absolute, supreme energy – maintaining the harmony in cosmic existence. It being all permeating, there cannot be a difference of quality in the intelligence itself. The energy of intelligence, the energy of harmony manifests itself through some substance. Energy solidifies itself into molecules, neutrons and protons. The molecules then become the content of atoms and the atoms get together to organize what we call a substance.
In and through the substance, the energy of harmony which is order and orderliness, the energy of intelligence manifests itself. Where there is chaos, there is stupidity. Wherever there is organic, harmonious, spontaneous orderliness, there seems to be intelligence.
This energy solidifies taking the form of molecules, atoms and then gets together harmoniously, organizing itself into substance. Substance manifests that intelligence through an inbuilt harmony, built-in spontaneous orderliness. That spontaneous orderliness, that spontaneous harmony, is expressed in a blade of grass, in the flow of streams and rivers and the growth of trees, the mountains etc. But it is a bounded or limited manifestation of the supreme.
The substance of which the human body is constituted is more developed than the blade of grass or the body of an eagle, the horse etc. It has gone through evolution. This formation of substance has been refined and sophisticated. The biological evolution has taken millions of years.
The human organism has more sensitivity. The energy of intelligence expressed through the substance of the human body seems to be more eloquent. It is enriched with self-awareness which is not the product of thought. Nobody has to tell you that “you are”. You have the feeling “I am”. Somebody may tell you that you are a Hindu or an Indian. That I-am-ness may be qualified by race, religion, nationality but no one has to tell you that “you are”. You take it for granted, but there is an awareness of existence. That is why they say it is so precious to be born in a human body.
That supreme intelligence can manifest itself in innumerable ways in a human being. There will not be only a one dimensional movement. A human being is a multi-dimensional creature. It is possible for the human being to transcend the individuated energy of intelligence and merge with the un-individuated, non-differentiated cosmic energy of supreme intelligence.
Form and formlessness
Form is an idea. Our faculty of perception has been conditioned through centuries to see things in structures. We have an idea of solidity, we have an idea of substance. We have form, we have the measurement of length and breadth, so our eyes cannot see but through the structure of length, breath, height, mass – that is four dimensionality, there is that limitation – we have been limited to see things that way.
The scientists in the beginning of the 20th Century started uncovering the nature of the atom – the minutest aspect of what is referred to as matter. They asked themselves, what is the content of an atom? Is it a particle or is it a wave? Is an atom composed of electrons? When they analysed it further, they only found nebulous light waves and they came to discover the primary element as light. In the 1930’s they came to the tentative conclusion that the electron can take the form of a wave when it wants to, when it feels the need to and it can be in the form of a particle also. But our eyes cannot see the atom, atomic energy, the neutron, the proton, the electron. They do not see the nebulous light which is really the substance of matter.
Form is an idea, it is not a subjective idea. The reality is formless. Man trying to relate to the reality created a word in his mind but the essence of reality is formless. The forms are a creation of the human mind, of the human brain and the trained sense organs. All the forms – their definitions, their names are the creation of civilization. “Solidity” and “substance” these words themselves, these ideas themselves, are the creation of the human race.
Energy and individuated energy
The earth is a kind of being. The sun is a being, the moon is a being and the oceans are a being. In that way there are innumerable beings and they all have individuated energy – in the sense that the energy of the sun is not possessed by the moon and the energies of the oceans are not shared by the rivers. The energies of those beings contained in what you call the mountains, the rivers, the oceans etc. is individuated energy in the sense that you can deal with that energy in a specific way. For example you take some herbs and you use that energy to cure disease. So for you the energy contained in the herbs becomes individuated energy.
It is in relation to us that we may call the energy contained in these cosmic beings as individuated energy but they are not particular. They are not fragments of the totality. When human beings put themselves in relation to and want to use the energies they are used as individuated energies.
“Beingness” and “Being” are very interesting terms. “Beingness” is the “isness” without form. Isness which has not become a power. Isness which holds the energy, which contains the energy – it does not manifest it. It does not exercise it. There is the “beingness” of the whole cosmos – non-fragmentable, un-individuated energy. I could say ocean of energy but ocean has limitations. It has shores. But this energy even if you use the term cosmos, it has no boundaries in space or time. So there is the cosmic beingness, a formless cosmic beingness – energy.
There is beingness in and of the cosmos. The content of beingness is intelligent energy. The energy is formless. But it is capable of unfolding a form or appearing like a formless being.
When a person grows into an uninhibited receptivity, that is, grows into an inner emptiness, the energy may flood his whole being. Otherwise the cosmic energy of supreme intelligence neither affects nor interferes with the life of the human race.
Relative and absolute
In the Orient they refer to relative and absolute reality. The formless cosmic being or beingness is called absolute reality and what the human being notices through their conditioned perception is relative reality.
Innumerable energies are floating in space. I am using the term “floating” because I have no better term. Innumerable energies are acting and interacting upon each other. They fill the cosmos. You see a certain shape and you call it a mountain. But if you can relate to the energy contained in that mountain, concealed behind the apparent shape of the mountain, I think that the inter-action between your perception and that energy may help you. If you know how to relate to the energies in the rivers, the oceans, the mountains, the trees, the flowers and the herbs it may help you. And if you learn to relate to the emptiness of space, then the energies floating in space and your perception of those energies or your feeling of those energies through perceptive sensitivity may result in help.
Perception of form and the formless
The relationship between form and the formless is the same relationship as the ripples or waves have with the water beneath. They are made of the water, they are born of the water. They dance upon the water and sometimes they mingle with the water. You don’t see their wave form. You don’t see their action as a wave, as a ripple, as a bubble. They don’t have any other existence. You take a bubble and you find only water. You try to take a wave in your hand and you find only water.
What is the relationship between the waves, the bubble, the ripple that you see on the waters and the water? It is not an optical illusion; for we see them. You can take a photograph of them, but if you touch them there is only water. So you touch the form and you feel the formless reality. If you know how to touch the form, you know how to relate with the formless reality. When you touch the ripples, the waves with your hands or with your feet you feel the wetness and you say, “Ah, that is water” but here the relationship has to be through perceptive sensitivity. You will have to feel, you cannot touch it like the wetness of water or the ripple or the wave.
If you have that sensitivity you can feel it as when you listen to music. Everybody feels the sound waves, but if you have the sensitivity, you can recognize the notes, the raga, the melody, the character of the raga and your whole neuro-chemical system responds to the recognition of the ragas or the ragini – this interaction takes place between you and the notes. Fifty persons may be listening to the same piece of music but the inter-action between the sound waves and the listeners would be of fifty different kinds. One listens to the raga and the other listens to the sound of the notes. One touches the trunk of a tree and feels only the trunk of the tree and the other touches the tree and feels the reality.
Form and formless reality is a distinction in the human brain and the more your sensitivity opens up, blossoms, your whole being becomes perceptive. Not only your eyes. You see and you hear with the whole of your being, then the distinction disappears. The formless contains the forms as the waters of the ocean contain the waves.
The lover and the beloved
As far as the supreme intelligence is concerned, as far as the cosmic intelligence is concerned, it does not provide help. It cannot help, because help requires duality. A receiver and a giver. The supreme intelligence, the unconditioned cosmic consciousness is enfolded within you as it is enfolded in the cosmos outside of you. It is within you and it may burst from within our being. It may fill your being. That is not help. It is the cosmic energy, cosmic intelligence. Cosmic consciousness gives totality [undividedness] unto you. As a lover gives himself or herself unto the beloved. It is the eradication of the illusory distance between the individual and the cosmic.
When the emptied inner orbit of the person gets filled with the unconditioned energy, when there is no “I-ness” but oneness, when there is no sense of being somebody or something separate from the totality of life – everything changes. The darkness of individual consciousness recedes as the darkness recedes at dawn and the rays of the sun fill the consciousness and the night becomes day.
Once you see that there is one basic energy permeating the whole cosmos, then the sense of separation, of “me” and the “other” disappears. Not as a theory of non-duality but as a fact of life. That sense of duality, the tension of duality just drops away like the autumn leaves from the trees without giving any trouble to your mind. You do not renounce. The “I” does not forego the sense of “I-ness”. It just breaks away, gets demolished and what remains is the vibrating awareness of the unity of life and oneness of that all permeating intelligence.